The exponential increase in information, primarily due to the electronic capture of data and its storage in vast data warehouses, has created a demand for analyzing the vast amount of data generated by today's organizations so that enterprises can respond quickly to fast changing markets. These applications not only involve the analysis of the data but also require sophisticated tools for analysis. Knowledge discovery technologies are the new technologies that help to analyze data and find relationships from data to find reasons behind observable patterns. Such new discoveries can have profound impact on designing business strategies. With the massive increase in data being collected and the demands of a new breed of Intelligent Applications like customer relationship management, demand planning and predictive forecasting, the knowledge discovery technologies have become necessities to provide high performance and feature rich Intelligent Application Servers for intelligent enterprises. The new knowledge-based economy entirely depends upon information technology, knowledge sharing, as well as intellectual capital and knowledge management. Organizations are moving to new electronic business models both to cut costs and to improve relationship management with customers, suppliers and partners. If an organization knows patterns of customer demand, it can reduce inventory requirements and unused manufacturing or service capacities.
Knowledge management (KM) tools and technologies are the systems that integrate various legacy systems, databases, ERP systems, and data warehouse to help facilitate an organization's knowledge discovery process. Integrating all of these with advanced decision support and online real time events would enable an organization to understand customers better and devise business strategies accordingly. Creating a competitive edge is the goal of all organizations employing knowledge discovery for decision support. They need to constantly seek information that will enable better decisions that will in turn generate greater revenues, or reduce costs, or increase product quality and customer service. Knowledge discovery provides unique benefits over alternative decision support techniques as it uncovers relationships and rules, not just data. These hidden relationships and rules exist empirically in the data because they have been derived from the way the business and its market work.
This chapter discusses all the tools required to enable the organization to go through the key processes of knowledge sharing, knowledge distribution, knowledge creation as well as knowledge capture and codification. These tools will include advanced databases, AI tools such as case-based reasoning and expert systems, group collaborative systems, office automation systems and emerging technologies such as CAD and virtual reality and how they can be used to enable organizations to meet the demands of today's competitive environment.